My Profile

I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You're all Winners, but...

 ~ quilting bee ~
the sheep stamp is going to Kathy in KY, the quilting package to Robin at the Knittin' Coop and the yarn to Barbara at Moore Whimsies.  There are more things to give away -books, bag, tea, cup and saucer, etc.- so stay tuned.

The above quilt is a product from one of our quilting bee ladies where we meet Thursdays nights and everyone brings a project and some bring a snack to share. It's a great time and they have taught me a lot over these past three years. If you want to see a bit about where we meet, visit Thompson Valley Community Center.

Is anyone else feeling a bit blue about the current state of affairs? Is it just me? I think I need to pray more and read more Bible to shake this feeling of the world has gone mad. The folks in Arizona and Texas are doing the job the Feds won't do and US citizens are paying the price...with their livelihood and land; it hasn't come to their lives yet but it looks like that's only a matter of time. 

The Cypress Times starts off their story thusly, "The bloodbath continues along our southern border and now word is coming in that Los Zetas, the highly trained killers formerly with the Gulf Cartel, have crossed into the United States and taken over at least two ranches in the Laredo, Texas area. I am receiving word that the owners of the ranches have evacuated without being harmed. ..."

Didn't Obama say, during his campaign, he was going to bring home our military in Afghanistan his first year in office? That didn't happen and now I know why. If our military is there, they can't be here...on US soil, protecting men and women, boys and girls...US citizens from this act of war on US soil! I don't claim to be an expert on world affairs but, as Aunt Bonnie used to say, " 'Deed, I believe I could do as well if not a bit better." God help us all!

Election day is coming up and I urge you to VOTE! Familiarize yourself with the issues, do NOT listen to what others say on topics...read and learn for yourself! Yes, it takes time but this is YOUR life and the future of generations to come; you owe it to yourself and them to make intelligent decisions based on hard core information. Please, vote.

Blessings ~ gifts ~ voting ~ Texas ~ prayer ~ Scripture ~


Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

 ~ sunset brings a tad cooler temps ~
Boys Howdy, is it hot where you're living? My parents live in central Virginia and they said it got up to 105 F yesterday; it was "only" 95 F here at Thistle Cove Farm. I'm thinking that's hot enough to turn a sinner's heart, eh? It was so hot, I forgot to put up Sabbath Keeping! That's never happened before and I apologize; I feel a right proper slackard!

Tonight, at midnight, is the deadline for last Monday's drawing and likewise for Tuesday and Wednesday. I have other things to giveaway and will get to them but I'm moving slowly, slowly these days. It's just taking me so dang long to get most anything accomplished in this heat. One thing I did accomplish is my guest post at From My Front Porch which is Misha's blog over in Tennessee. She asked me to do this and it's been great fun, thinking about early days and going through my thousands of photographs. If you're interested in early days, here at Thistle Cove Farm, have a visit with Misha; you'll learn more than you wanted to know! -smile-

I've been knitting again...for some reason, my hands and mind wanted the comfort of yarn and needles; I can't imagine why in this extreme heat but...there you have it. I'll show you the two spiral necklaces I've knitted as soon as the second one is off the needles. The farm building office and bath are finished; photos as soon as I've cleaned both rooms.

I have been reading; here's a partial list of books on my table; TBR means "to be read" and I bought a lot of these books, on the $1 table at BAM and some I bought for fifty cents at Big Lots...jackpot! Yeah, I know these books are a couple of years old but the words are still new to me -grin-. I've still got a bunch from the library that are stacked and either ready to read, finish or return.

~The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease - one of the best historical fiction books I've ever read, bar non! This one is going to be a giveaway soon. Briefly, in 15 century Europe and England religious intolerance is spreading like wildfire and folks are being burned, drawn and quartered and tortured for their Christian faith! I am not ashamed to say I cried as I read this book. I cried at man's inhumanity to man and woman in the name of God.

~Traveling While Married by Mary-Lou Weisman - to be read but a skim through says funny!

~ The Woman Who Walked to Russia by Cassandra Pybus - TBR, looks interesting.

~ Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage by Nicholas Wapshott -TBR. Frankly, I think Reagan was one of our best Presidents and have long admired both  he and Margaret Thatcher. At that time, in a world gone, seemingly, mad Reagan and Thatcher formed an alliance that made them indomitable allies and both stood for low taxes, free markets, and a strong defense against communism; to their detractors I ask, "So what have you done to outshine their legacy?"

~ A Bull in China - Investing Profitable in the World's Greatest Market by Jim Rogers - TBR but I read and heed anything Jim Rogers says or writes. The man is brilliant!

~ Casa Nostra: A Home in Sicily by Caroline Seller Manzo - TBR, a non-fiction that weaves a spell of the extraordinary culture and world of Sicily. It's going to be good, really good and is another one of those books where she just GOES and live somewhere else. Okay, she married the guy and then they traveled but, eventually, ended up at his home in Sicily. Gosh, I love traveling like this...going and living like the locals! Second best is reading about it.

~ The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman - TBR, an historical, fiction, romance novel that tells the story of a woman captured and sold, in 1599, into slavery in the Sultan's harem. Joy gives her review and I think I'm going to like it although it will, probably, make me angry -smile-.

~ The Crimson Portrait by Jody Shields - TBR, set in 1915 England it's been called "historical fiction, psychological thriller, suspenseful, chilling tale of detection"...sounds good!

~ Malory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur's Chronicler by Christina Hardyment - TBR and think this will take me a long while to read and may never finish. Again, the 15th century and a review that says, for the most part, a successful write.

~ Sea of Faith: Islam and Christianity in the Medieval Mediterranean World by Stephen O'Shea - TBR and another book to dig deep. Perhaps you know Christianity, Islam and Judaism have a long and shared history; the Sea of Faith addresses early days in this fascinating period. Check his blog as well.

~ We've Always Had Paris...and Provence: A Scrapbook of our Life in France by Patricia and Walter Wells - reading now and it's delightful but I can't see me having a chin wag with these two; maybe them and Martha Stewart but not me.

~ The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria by Marlene de Blasi - TBR and I'm sorry I've not yet stumbled upon her first two books in this series. Views From the Slow Lane give a great review. Again, one of my favorite type books, it tells the story of moving somewhere and starting a life amongst everything new. Recipes included...how great is that!?!

~ Investment Biker - On the Road with Jim Rogers - reading about his travels around the world on his BMW motorcycle with companion, Tabitha. Adventure Capitalist is his book written about his second trip around the world with wife Paige Parker. Rogers tends to be a private person which his writing reflects.

~ The God Catchers - Experiencing the Manifest Presence of God by Tommy Tenney - TBR - I've read other of Tenney's books and enjoyed them; expect to enjoy this one as well.

~ L'America by Martha McPhee - TBR - I'm really looking forward to reading this one in part because of her blog. She posted of her mother's recent visit wherein her mother brought her dog, her cat and ten baby chicks. Now just consider this intriguing woman is the mother of the author of L'America; it's simply got to be a great book!

~ Searching for a God to Love by Chris Blake, TBR -a new to me author; anyone know anything about him?

Blessings ~ books ~ eyes to read books ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Searching for London


 ~ somewhere over England ~
Give-aways are suspended until tomorrow; Dave has been hankering for me to do another post on London and I've learned to pack a bag in an hour so here goes. After all, when you've spent two plus weeks wandering around Romania, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic with naught but the clothes on your back and one -I want to say crummy but that sounds so ungrateful!- white tee shirt given to me by the airlines because they misplaced our bags yet sent us on our way- now both Dave and I pack in one...ONE...carry-on each. And his isn't all that large a carry-on! Sometimes I'll have a purse but, usually, we both have travel vests and yes, as a matter of fact, we do look like the Bobsey twins but it works for us.

WHEW! I'm bushed after that run-on sentence.

In London, we stayed in the Knightsbridge and Kensington areas only a few blocks from Harrods and a lovely shopping district. A lovely Extremely High End shopping district and nothing much was purchased there except for food and pints at our local, A Bunch of Grapes. I felt like Granny Sandy come to town as I watched the "fancy ladies" mince and prance from shop to shop to shop. And yet, it would not surprise me, at all, if I were the happiest of the lot. I know my place, am over the moon happy in love with my place and am a loved woman. Everyone should be so blessed!
~ Diana and Dodi memorial at Harrods ~
While we never had a bad day, thank God, some of our best days were spent being tourists. There are those, perhaps we were "those" when we were younger, who decry boarding buses and sightseeing but, now that we've got a few years on our heads, we enjoyed riding the double decker bus and seeing far more of London than we could have on foot. Dave reconnoitered by riding the bus around London while a friend and I wandered around on foot and by tube. Then, after the friend left London, Dave and I rode the bus and hopped on/hopped off as we pleased and saw things of interest.
~ Cheshire Cheese Pub ~
Please note, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street was rebuilt in 1667, following the Great Fire of London in 1666, and a favorite haunt of Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Francois-Marie Arouet, also known as Voltaire and now, Dave and Sandra.

The Horn Tavern stood on this same site although in 1538, but a 13th century Carmelite Monastery guest house stood there long before The Horn Tavern. The vaulted cellars in the pub are thought to belong to the Monastery guest house.
~ leaded glass windows ~
 ~ Dr. Samuel Johnson's chair ~
 Dr. Samuel Johnson's home is around the corner from the Cheshire Cheese and we visited but, alas, it was closed. Whilst he and James Boswell were discussing whether Boswell would tire of London should he move there, Johnson said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." Dr. Johnson is every word geek's master and mentor and it was he, you'll recall, who, on April 15, 1755, published A Dictionary of the English Language which is sometimes called Samuel Johnson's Dictionary. For this herculean task, which took almost nine years, he was paid, approximately, 1,500 pounds which is now about $1,000.
~ a partial list of patrons ~
 ~ my delicious lunch ~
 There are people who would not be thrilled with my, fairly, simple lunch. I am not one as I enjoy food from the plainest, most plebeian fair to the gastronomic delights of The Georgian Room. I was tickled with my meat pie, chips, peas and carrots. It was washed down with a pint of local whose name now escapes me but I recall it was hard cider. There's nothing like hard cider and although this was processed, it was still delicious and made more delightful by eating in such a heralded establishment.
 ~ the London Eye ~
 From Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese to the London Eye, a trip of a few hundred years! We didn't ride the Eye this trip but had ridden it a few years prior. After spending time in Morocco in Marrakesh and with the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains and the Bedouins in the Sahara Desert, we stopped off in London to regroup. It was a serious head twister, from living in tents only God knows how old and having no running water...unless you call a five gallon bucket and a cut off plastic soda bottle running water... to living in the lap of luxury in a London hotel and taking a turn in the Eye. However, that's another story for another time; now it's time for me to stop burning daylight and get back to work. The day is no longer young and there are still miles to go before I sleep.

Blessings ~ travel ~ London ~ adventure ~ Morocco ~ Atlas Mountain ~ Sahara Desert ~ London Eye ~ pubs ~ double decker buses ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Giveaway 3: Yarn

 ~ yarn ~
 Lion Brand Jiffy - a quick and easy mohair look yarn, machine washable and dryable. These four skeins are three ounces each, 85 grams and 135 yards of yarn in each skein. At 540 yards total, there's enough to make someone a lovely shawl or perhaps a child's sweater. One skein has come "undone" but has been wound back around the skein, I seem to remember the entire skein is intact but memory could be wrong. If there is any missing, it's not much and while the color is labeled as "taupe", it's more of a light chocolate brown.

 What you need to know:
-one comment = one entry
-contest ends one week from today, Tuesday at midnight
-winner notified the next day, Wednesday
-leave your contact information!

For additional chances to win:

-one entry if you mention the giveaway on your blog
-one entry if you mention it on Facebook

Please comment separately for each time you enter; that's the easiest way for me to Random.org pick the winner.
Blessings ~ knitting ~ crochet ~ yarn ~ weaving ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giveaway 2: fabric

 ~ quilt pieces ~
Tuesday's giveaway - of course you don't have to use these Lancaster Rose Style #2250 fabric pieces for a quilt; they can be used for whatever project you desire. As it happens, it's cut for a quilt so, if that's your leaning, it makes it easy peasy.
 ~ Granny's quilting shapes directions ~
It reads, "In a small shop at the foot of Kings Mountain, North Carolina these quality quilt kits are carefully assembled one at a time. Each kit contains enough pieces to  make a beautiful quilt top. You supply strips, border, backing, batting and love. Granny offers 8 timeless designs: Dresden Plate, Lone Star, Bowtie, Lancaster Rose, 5" x 5" Squares, 6" x 6" Squares, Hexagon Appliques, and Heart Appliques. Whether you are a first time or an experienced quilter, you will enjoy creating beautiful, heirloom quality quilts with Granny's Quilting Shapes.

This unopened package contains the following: at least 30 circles, 120 petals; 120 leaves. ..."

What you need to know:
-one comment = one entry
-contest ends one week from today, Tuesday at midnight
-winner notified the next day, Wednesday
-leave your contact information!

For additional chances to win:

-one entry if you mention the giveaway on your blog
-one entry if you mention it on Facebook

Please comment separately for each time you enter; that's the easiest way for me to Random.org pick the winner.

Blessings ~ quilting ~ quilting pieces ~ quilters ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Monday, July 19, 2010

Giveaway 1: Sheep Stamp

 ~ silly sheep ~
Monday's giveaway is a trifle silly - a sheep stamp. Just the one, mind, but I wanted you to see both front and back -smile-.

It's rather a large stamp, about 2.5 x 2.5, brand new and never been used.

What you need to know:
-one comment = one entry
-contest ends one week from today, at midnight
-winner  notified the next day, Tuesday

For additional chances to win:

-one entry if you mention the giveaway on your blog
-one entry if you mention it on Facebook

Please comment separately for each time you enter; that's the easiest way for me to Random.org pick the winner.

Delightful company has visited today and time will tell the story. But, for now, it's give-away week and no, it's not Christmas nor did I win the lottery. Heck, I don't even buy lottery tickets. I am de-cluttering and thought it might be fun to give folks an opportunity to win some stuff...serious, silly, functional, fun.

P. S. Please leave an easy way for me to contact you; some of you have "no reply" to your comments and that's not a good thing.

Blessings ~ prizes ~ silly sheep ~ give-aways ~ de-cluttering ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 
 ~ Lebanon, VA ~
 "May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you." ~ I Thessalonians 3:12 ~

"....how sometimes we have dreamed of a better state of things in which each man's independence should make the brotherhood of all men perfect.
....Must we wait for such a society as that until we get to heaven?
Surely not!
....We may begin it in ourselves. Already we may give ourselves to Christ. We may own that we are His. We may see in all our bodily life--in the strength and glory of our youth if we are young and strong, in the weariness and depression of our age or feebleness if we are old and feeble--the marks of His ownership, the signs that we are His. We may wait for His coming to claim us, as the marked tree back in the woods waits till the ship-builder who has stuck his sign into it with his axe comes by and by to take it and make it part of the great ship that he is buildling. And while we wait we may make the world stronger by being our own, and sweeter by being our brethren's; and both, because and only because we are really not our own nor theirs, but Christ's."
~ Phillips Brooks ~ author, O Little Town of Bethlehem

"No man ever saw God and lived"; and yet I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen Him I shall never die. What have I ever seen in this world that hath been truly the same thing that it seemed to me? I have seen marble buildings, and a chip, a crust, a plaster, a face of marble hath peeled off, and I see brick-bowels within. I have seen beauty, and a strong breath from another tells me that complexion is from without, not from a sound constitution within. I have seen the state of princes, and all that is but ceremony; and I would be loath to put a master of ceremonies to define ceremony and tell me what it is, and to include so various a thing as ceremony in so constant a thing as a definition. I see a great officer, and I see a man of mine own profession, of great revenues, and I see not the interest of the money that was paid for it, I see not the pensions nor the annuities that are charged upon that office or that church. As he that fears God fears nothing else, so he that sees God sees everything else. When we shall see God sicuti est, as He is, we shall see all things sicuti sunt, as they are; for that's their essence, as they conduce to His glory. We shall be no more deluded with outward appearances: for when this sight which we intend here comes, there will be no delusory thing to be seen. All that we have made as though we saw in this world will be vanished, and I shall see nothing but God, and what is in Him."
~ John Donne ~

"We who in a mystery represent the Cherubim and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life giving Trinity: Let us lay aside the cares of this world; for now we are to receive the King of all who comes accompanied by unseen hosts of anglels, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."
~ Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom ~

"For great is your love toward me: you have delivered me from the depths of the grave." 
~ Psalms 86:13 ~

 Blessings ~ Sabbath ~ great love ~ Jesus Christ ~ "As he that fears God fears nothing else, so he that sees God sees everything else" ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Peach Slurry


 ~ twenty-four peaches, cut up and simmering ~
Peach Slurry. Gosh, sounds rather dreadful, doesn't it but it's so good your tongue will slap your brains out. -grin-

I bought a half bushel of peaches and have been making my version of peach jam although, I wanted to make pesto today. Unfortunately for pesto making, it's pouring rain and it's best to make pesto on a sunny, hot day. Peach Slurry is a long process but, I believe, worth it to have for grilled pound cake, shortbread, biscuits, PB&J sandwiches, gifts. It's a burst of sunshine on a snowy winter's day and well worth the effort!
 ~ dozen half pint jars, simmering, ready to fill ~
 ~ six cups sugar, two vanilla beans, vanilla extract ~
 ~ one dozen half pints plus one ~
Bert Green and Phillip S. Schulz wrote Cooking for Giving and it's one of my favorite cookbooks. It's chock full of wonderful, delicious recipes that are lovely to give as well as keep for oneself. I've used this cookbook for the last hundred years...or so it seems...and the recipes are still just as fabulous now as when I first stumbled across this little treasure. Well, since it was published in 1984, certainly. Amazon has six copies priced at one dollar each; what an absolute steal and yes, please do consider this my recommendation to purchase said book!

All that to say, nope, I do not go religiously by the recipe. As far as I'm concerned, recipes are simply suggestions and I can, usually, make them just a tad better. I've been cooking for four and a half decades so, surely, I've picked up something in all those years.

Irena Chalmers is the leader in the 'one subject cookbook' and is Editor and Publisher of, among a great many others, the Great American Cooking Schools series. The Cooking For Giving cookbook is where I derived my version of their Peach-Vanilla but I call mine Peach Slurry.

You might as well know right now, I'm not a big fan of exact. Everything I do is done to taste, look, touch or eyeball but if you're new to canning, you'd be better off following the directions exactly.
Yuck. No joy there but it is, probably, safer for you. It may be safer for me as well but as I've never killed anyone nor made anyone sick in all these decades, I'll stick to my own, un-exact, methods.

Place twenty-four peaches into a hot water bath; simmering is fine, boiling is fine but more dangerous so I prefer simmer. Let them sit a minute then place them into a cold water bath. At this point you need to  drag up a chair, sit down, get comfortable and proceed to slip the skins, slice them and put the peaches and the lemon juice into a sturdy kettle.

Let them come to a boil...this takes almost forever as you don't want the heat turned up high but rather -here we go again- a simmer. Stir, Stir. Stir. You don't want the peaches to stick because then you'll have a burnt tasting mess on your hands and who wants to waste time, effort, money, peaches, etc.?

Certainly not me so here's the recipe to make it easier for you to cut and paste...just in case you want to try Peach Slurry.

-Twenty-four peaches
-Six cups sugar
-Two vanilla beans - preferably from Madagascar as, I believe, they are bestest although Mexico beans aren't shabby either.
-One-half tablespoon or two teaspoons if you're kitchen challenged double strength vanilla extract. I pour in a dollop.
-One tablespoon lemon juice but, again, a dollop will suffice.

The twenty-four peaches and lemon juice are simmering on the stove, slowly coming to a boil. After coming to a boil, let them boil ten minutes. Stir, stir, stir...please don't tell me you've already forgotten!

Pour the vanilla extract into the sugar, mix in the beans and sit to the side.

After the peaches have boiled for ten minutes, remove and place in a colandar that's sitting in another pot.
Stirring the peaches, drain the juice, put juice into a heavy pan and heat to a boil.
Let boil ten minutes, then add the sugar, vanilla bean and vanilla extract.
Bring to boil, let boil ten minutes then add the peaches.
Bring to boil, boil ten minutes and then put Peach Slurry into jars ready to be hot water bathed. And yes, that's what we've called it all my life, bathed with an 'a' like when you say bath. Not bathed like it's normally pronounced. Clear as mud, eh? -grin-

By the way, the jars should have been washed in hot, soapy water then rinsed in hot water and then placed in the canning kettle so they can be kept HOT. Same for jar rings and lids.

I pour Peach Slurry to within one half inch of the top of the jar, slap on the ring, tighten the lid and put back into the canning kettle where they boil for...how long would you guess? That's right! Ten Minutes! I take the jars out of the kettle, put them on a kitchen towel on the counter and then cover all with a double layer of kitchen towels.

From a loved one, the words "I Love You" hardly sound as sweet as the ping of a jar sealing. You do NOT want the air conditioner on, not even on low, nor do you want the ceiling fan stirring the air. The air must be Absolutely Still so the jars cool and seal at their own rate. Trust me, this is a good thing. A Very Good Thing.
~ Miss Emma, background, Mama Cass, foreground ~
I'm not so sure the cats are as enthralled as I over the Peach Slurry but that's okay, I'll give them a different kind of treat and the dogs have been underfoot all day. If I'm in the kitchen, something good must be happening.

Yeah, monkeys. Peach Slurry. Want some?

Post Script - if the jars don't seal, if the lids aren't depressed when cooled, Do Them Over! Very Important!  If the lids aren't depressed, if there's still a little "mountain" of lid, that means they didn't seal. If they aren't sealed, you've two choices...put in refrigerator and eat immediately OR Do Them Over! Please, no fooling around...safety first...last...and foremost.

Blessings ~ peaches ~ vanilla beans ~ vanilla extract ~ cool weather ~ rain! ~ping ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things to Come: Giveaway

 Next week is a week of giveaways; in no particular order...
 ~ Baggallini, accordion bag ~
~ tea cup, saucer and Twinings Earl Grey tea ~
 ~ one funny little sheep stamp ~
~ Lion Brand Jiffy yarn, 4 skeins ~
 ~ quilting pack ~
No photo but a needlepoint kit; by the time its day has come 'round, I'll have a photo.

Rules: 

one giveaway per day
one comment = one entry
contest ends one week later, at midnight. So, for a Monday giveaway, all entries must be made by the next Monday at midnight with winner being notified the next day. God willing and the creek don't rise.  

For additional chances to win:

one entry if you mention the giveaway on your blog 
one entry if you mention it on facebook
each entry must be separate.

Blessings ~ prizes ~ nice folks to win prizes ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simple Things

 ~ cautious, cautious ~
 Do simple things give you much pleasure? If so, we've a lot in common. This week, I'm trying to lay low, take it easy, stay in the studio or kitchen and tend to hearth and home. This month, there have been three funerals and two of those, necessitated a trip out of state. It always catches me by surprise when my energy level flags once I've returned home. I suppose it's the adrenalin that keeps everyone on their feet, doing what needs to be done whether that's assisting with the funeral, helping the family or just being a shoulder to lean upon. Once over, my energy collapses and I find even the simplest of responsibilities too much. When Dave's mother passed away, we tended to the wake and burial decisions with the last being hosting a luncheon at the farm for anyone and everyone who wanted to come. I'm grateful to my family for coming, helping and staying the weekend but after they left, Dave and I fell into chairs and just stared at each other. Then we took naps followed by chair sitting followed by eating followed by sleep followed by naps...you get the drift. That went on for about two weeks before we pulled out of it and "it" still catches us by surprise at the oddest moments.

All that nattering to say, it's been a month! The deer was photographed while nibbling fallen apples and gave me such pleasure to watch.
 ~ hidden by thistle ~
At first glimpse, this is what I saw and believe the deer was, slowing, going towards the stand of apple trees. The thistles in this field are so tall, it's difficult to see the deer but God gave me an eye to see what's not supposed to be there...or so Dave tells me. I thought everyone could see what's not supposed to be there but no. Dave tells me I have the ability to see the king is wearing no clothes and laughing at us in the bargain. Sigh. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear...
~ hay! ~

Bless God, we have fifty-seven and a half 4x4 round bales of hay and, as we put them up on shares, that means we now have twenty-nine bales of hay waiting for winter feeding! The other folks got the half bale and we got the full bale because we moved all their hay off our pasture. Trust me, it's fair.
 ~ electric kettle ~
 One Very English thing I like is electric kettles and now I've my very own...hurrah! I know it probably doesn't make any difference but I don't like water heated in a microwave. I just don't but, now, Sunbeam has brought the electric kettle to the US and I've got my very own. Works like a charm too.
~ tea, at the ready...almost ~
 Why this pleases me, I just don't know. It's not like I don't have tea pots that are cute, pretty, functional but this little number is just fine as elderberry wine. The jacket, on left, is to keep the tea hot while the strainer will hold either tea bags or loose tea and screws into the lid for safety. More importantly...there!, I finally remembered...is the way it can be used, sans strainer for presentation tea. When Dave and I were in London, we bought presentation tea from Harrods and I've been searching, ever since, for a clear tea pot. Yes, I could have sought out a glass tea pot on the i-net but this was more fun and certainly more serendipitous. Next thing you know, I'll be searching out a presentation tea chest.
Not.
  ~ tea for one ~
I'm working on a series of giveaways and this will be one...a delightful cup, saucer and box of Twinings Earl Grey tea. Forgive me for harping but, while in London, Dave and I also went to Twinings shop just because. We didn't buy anything but it was so cute; been in the same location for a couple of three hundred years, or thereabouts, and smelled delicious! So, this is one giveaway, coming next week. I'm thinking each day I'll give something away; hope you like it all.

As you know, we live in an area called the Cove and about a year ago, some Cove folks asked if I'd start a blog. Cove Community Virginia was born and the reasoning was, we'd all contribute. Well, that's not happened but I'd still like your opinion on the blog. Please visit and let me know, okay?

Speaking of blogs, you're probably dizzy with all the changes on this one. I'm trying to doozy it up a bit but not with cutsey stuff; I don't do cute. I want calm, peaceful, serene; a place you can visit, take a deep breath and simply relax. Does this do it for you?
~ my monkeys ~
Nothing earth shattering, there's far too much of that in this ole world already. "Fatigue makes cowards of us all" and that's certainly true. This quote has been attributed to Vince Lombardi but before him, it was said by George S. Patton. When I find I'm overwhelmed, anxious, fretful that's when I find I'm fatigued, weary, tired and in need of sustenance of the spiritual and physical sort. I need to stay close to home and focus on those things that bring me full circle - a good meal, Scripture, studio time, just holding down porch furniture, drinking a cold drink and chatting with Dave.

Simple things.


Blessings ~ folks who lived ready so they were ready to go ~ hay ~ deer ~ dogs ~ tea ~ Dave ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet, than a house full of feasting with strife." ~ Proverbs 17:1 ~


"Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for thee."

"Traditionally we are taught, and instinctively we long, to give where it is needed - and immediately. Eternally; woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim." ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh ~

"Man has to learn to seek first the kingdom of heaven, the place of stillness and quiet at the highest level of which he is capable, and then the heavenly influences can pour into him, recreate him and use him for
the salvation of mankind." ~ White Eagle ~

"Indeed, the greatest blessing that can follow the death of those we love is reconciliation. Without it there is no peace. But with it come quiet thoughts and quickened memories. And what else shall a man do except become reconciled? What purpose does he serve by fighting what he cannot touch or by brooding upon what he cannot change? We have to trust the Lord God for so many things, and it is but one thing more to trust him in the issues of life and death, and to accept the fact that his plans and promises and purposes transcend the bounds of this world and of this life. With such faith the years are kind, and peace and reconciliation do come to those who have laid to rest their loved ones - who, even in death, are not far removed from us, and of whom our Father in heaven will be mindful until we meet again even as we are mindful of our own children. bitter grief without reconciliation serves no good purpose. Death comes to all of us, but so does life everlasting." ~ Richard L. Evans ~

"Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words."
~ Ranier Maria Rilke


"Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a stead, long-continued process." ~ Phillips Brooks ~

"Learn to be quiet enough to hear the genuine within yourself so that you can hear it in others."

"He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
~ Zephaniah 3:17 ~

 Blessings ~ quiet ~ character ~ genuine ~ choosing to fill the pitcher to the brim ~ quiet ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Monday, July 05, 2010

Trotters

 ~ Sadie trotters ~
~ Dani Girl trotters ~
 
 ~ my trotters ~
 ~ tart trotters ~
Blessings ~ sensible shoes ~ sensible women who wear sensible shoes ~ healthful feet ~ happy feet ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sabbath Keeping

 ~ Roselawn, in Princeton, WV ~
"...in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, there were stronger than lions."  ~ II Samuel 1:23 ~

"Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see."
~ Helen Keller ~

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal." 
~ From a headstone in Ireland ~

"A human life is a story told by God." ~ Hans Christian Anderson ~

"It is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; 'tis rather an embrio state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead: Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals?"  
~ Benjamin Franklin ~

"One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching." ~ unknown ~

"Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live."
~ Henry Van Dyke ~

"The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity."
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca ~

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." ~ Psalms 116-15 ~


Blessings ~ William Ray Berry ~ Christs' saints ~ life and then death ~ eternity ~ love ~ memories ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Friday, July 02, 2010

For Your Information...


 ~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
All the dogs help with chores and seem to love being in the Ranger on a beautiful day. Here, we're cleaning out the livestock water tank; it tends to get algae and "seaweed" stuff that needs to, periodically, needs to be removed.
~ water tank needing to be cleaned ~
~ clean tank; please notice my little helpers ~
 ~ the view from my hammock ~
There's hay on the ground that, hopefully and God willing, will be baled today. Hurrah! It's always a good thing to have hay against the time of winter so the horses and sheep can eat. We've been so blessed to have dry hay every year, save one, and then were able to buy hay. God is good.
~ Sadie's nap time ~
This photo was taken last year and Sadie is too big to get in the hammock with me this year. With our combined weights, and the fact Abbie and Sam would want to climb in with us, that ole hammock can't handle the load. So, warm and fuzzy memories and photos will have to suffice. That and taking a lie down on the back porch where we all pile up like puppies.

Are you familiar with Dr. Michael Youssef? He's Egyptian, by birth, and, now, a citizen of the USA for the past couple of decades. He's a wise man, filled with the knowledge of God and a thought provoking preacher. He has asked folks to join him in Praying for America between 4 July and 2 November. Yes, that's right, between our Independence Day and Election Day. He wants 100,000 people to join him and, yes, I've signed up as I believe only God, by the prayers of a righteous people, will change the direction our county is headed. As Dr. Youssef said, "Can we have the fruits of the tree if we destroy the roots?" You know not.

He says our prayers should "thank God for the rich Christian history of our country; we should pray for the repentance of individual and national sin; we should petition God for His blessing on our country; we should pray for wisdom and discernment for elected officials and ask God for boldness and strength to tell others about Christ."  As a Christian, do you agree these are worthy prayers, no matter your political bent? As a Christian, please consider telling others and passing the word on your own blogs.
 
Quite often, I'll run across something in Blogland that really gets my attention.  Such was the new to me blog, Getting There and the Father's Day post about their wonderful and beautiful wood toys for children. I'm all over hand made, hand crafted, the work of our hands and heart and, generally, will buy old, vintage, antique or whatever you want to call it, as opposed to the trash that's mass manufactured today. Visit Getting There and, please, consider buying one, or more, of their toys for the child or children in your life. No, I don't know Getting There from Adam's cat but just look at the quality of those toys. Have you ever seen better? I think not. Maybe I'm having one of those Poor, Pitiful Me days because I've never had children but these wooden toys absolutely grip my heart. You just know they'll be around for your grandchildren's grandchildren; what a magnificent legacy!


Exciting news...friends Nelson and Dianna have purchased a beautiful home in central Florida. They will use it, primarily, for their family but...but...I am SO excited because they have, quite generously and graciously, offered it to Dave and I for a week. Be still my pounding heart! I already have plans for the heated swimming pool and hot tub that include l.o.n.g. periods of the day, a good book and me. They have made it available for rent through VRBO, Vacation Rental By Owner, a business Dave and I have used in the past. When we travel, we prefer to live with and like the locals...we rent apartments, cottages, etc. and find it's about the same money as renting a hotel room. Plus, the added benefits include complete privacy, being able to eat in our own kitchen, more space and now...a heated pool and hot tub that aren't shared with a bunch of strangers and strange people -smile-!
 ~ heated pool and hot tub ~
So, in a few months, Dave and I will travel to Florida and, hopefully, family will be able to come as well. The house is in a great location...an hour or thereabouts from the beach, same time from Cape Canaveral, quite close to Disney, Epcot, etc., shopping, fitness center so I can drop those nasty ten pounds while I'm there -HAHAHAHAHAHAHA- and restaurants, wonderful food markets...er, excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin.


If you've ever thought about going to Florida, visit Nelson and Dianna's house and then look at their calendar to see availability. Tell them Sandra sent you; it won't do you any good but at least you'll have someone you both know to talk about -laughing hysterically at myself-.

Can you tell it's cooler weather? I'm absolutely stupid giddy with joy!


Blessings ~ cooler weather ~ hay ~ Nelson and Dianna ~ Florida ~ hot tubs ~ heated swimming pools ~ wonderful helpers ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Summer Visitors

 ~ red fox in our yard ~
We've had some visitors this week, in particular, this red fox came by just prior to dusk. The dogs, Thank God, were in the house; I've no interest in seeing anyone injured and, contrary to popular opinion in the valley, don't want to kill the fox. That's been done, once, on the farm and while I realize it was necessary at the time, I don't want it to happen again. I cornered a juvenile fox in the granary and couldn't get him to run out so our neighbor shot him. The fox, probably, was sick as his coat was ragged and this was broad daylight; foxes aren't broad daylight critters and all evidence pointed to sickness so killing was the merciful thing to do. The hard thing to do as well but that's life; we're terminal as soon as we draw the first breath and it's my desire to live ready so I can die ready.
~ looking for a way out ~
~ escape needed ~
It was at this point, s/he noticed me standing on the porch and stopped and looked straight at me. Unfortunately, I was too busy moving back into the house to take a photo; I have no desire to stand between a wild critter and their way out. Our yard is fenced, rather strongly I thought, but the fox is lithe and long and, with fear as an inducement, was able to push through under the fence and escape.
~ grazing white tail deer ~ 
These two beauties look like adults and it never, never fails to thrill me to see wildlife. I'm the visitor here and they the residents so I try to live in peace, as much as possible, with everyone staying healthy.
 ~ days of sunshine ~
We began cutting hay yesterday and are hopeful to bale it tomorrow; today it's being kicked or tethered into long rows. This is the first few days we've had without rain and while the rain is a blessing, so is the sunshine. This means I'll have hay to feed this winter and horses and sheep will eat. This hay is a bit tough as it should have been cut a few weeks ago; weather didn't permit so we work within our parameters. This field is about eight or nine acres and will yield forty, give or take, bales of hay. We're cutting on shares, meaning the other farmer will get half and we'll get half. If I have too much, I'll sell some of my bales to someone who needs hay and, generally, will get $25 for these 4x4 bales.
~ new porch furniture ~
Brian and Donna live up the valley and simply amaze me with what they accomplish. They are fantastic gardeners, Brian is a wonderful woodworker, Donna makes beautiful quilts by hand and they both know how to shuffle the groceries to make a meal to make your tongue slap your brains out. Brian made this rocker and it only needs a cushion to be perfect.

Dave and I live, for the most part, quiet lives; we tend to stay on the farm, tend to our own business, take care of our family. We enjoy visitors and have some scheduled for this summer and autumn so the porch furniture will get a good workout.  Aunt Bonnie spent more than sixty years on her farm and it was second in her heart only to her beloved husband. She spent a grand total of three nights off her farm and when I asked her why didn't she leave more often, she answered, "Why would I want to leave heaven on earth?"
 ~ looking from our side porch, down the valley ~
Then, I understood with my head. Now, I understand with my heart.


Blessings ~ Thistle Cove Farm ~ visitors ~ animals ~ porch furniture ~ hay ~ knowing wonderful folks ~

Dei Gratia,
Sandra